Waking up with the Minaret cries at 0530 I had a small revelation – this religious freedom really ought to cover freedom from religion if one so wishes. I’m generally tolerant regarding nut-cases believing one or several gods and worshipping them – however I’m not as tolerant to the bombardment of noise they produce.
I welcome anyone to try finding your inner peace when you have minarets blasting five times a day at despicable hours, Christian church-bells tolling and perhaps a concert or two of gospel choirs/christian pop? Finally throw in some drums, bells and a monotone voice repeating phrases over crackling megaphones to worship Ganesh, Shiva, Kali or one of the suspiciously often reoccurring religious celebrations.
Anywho, the manager of the home-stay had not the supposedly higher moral of a believer but had salted the bill for food significantly. With a few minutes before we needed to leave to catch the morning ferry I calmly explained that he was ruining his own business and that we refused for several items on the bill and that this was truly a rip-off. He retracted some parts of the bill and we just wanted to leave the place which up until the moment of payment had been very nice. Avoid the Kosamattam Royal Homestay if possible.
As we got to the ferry the sour taste of rip-off had almost vanished and we enjoyed the calm waters and picturesque canals for some two and a half hours – for the price of 10Rs each. Well in Alleppey we got to the train station, got our tickets and slacked at the station waiting for the train which would leave in an hour or so. We met two Swedish families there who where staying long-term in Kerala and gave some tips about Munnar and Aranyaku. They on their had had found a very nice beach and place to stay just outside Varkala which seemed appealing.
The train was late but conversations proved to be better than expected, one guy turned out to be a journalist who had worked with my employer earlier – or to be more specific he had uncovered the company’s part in the rendition flights of the two egyptians from Sweden.
The train was slightly late which somehow caused us all to get on the wrong train when after a short connection. This train did not stop at Varkala but headed straight for Trivandrum, well well – close enough.
There was another train going 45 min back in an hour or so, so no real damage and we enjoyed snacks and drinks at very nice café (Indian Coffe House). As we finally got to Odayam beach and checked in we realized that we had been truly lucky in meeting the Swedish families. A stroll at the beach at sunset was magic and this place was indeed a paradise on earth – which I prefer to the off-wordily ones.